Johnny Manziel wasn’t interviewed by Cleveland at the NFL Combine last week, Browns coach Mike Pettine confirmed to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
This means nothing, but don’t be surprised if football writers try to make it something.
You’re dealing with a rookie head coach and a rookie GM. Everyone with a modicum of football knowledge knows they need a QB. Right now, the Browns feel like the Knicks – a team with horrible leadership, a perennial loser, and someone to be picked on … especially during Smokescreen Season. How embarrassing was it for the franchise when their last head coach – who lasted just one year – was riding the team bus with the players after a season-ending loss and phones started to buzz that he was gone?
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Back to Manziel. He’s one of the best QBs in what is increasingly looking like a draft devoid of a franchise signal-caller. They’ve all got perceived holes – Teddy Bridgewater is slight of frame with small hands; Zach Mettenberger is coming off an ACL injury; Blake Bortles looks the part but beat up on a lot of bad teams; Derek Carr has the stats and the arm but maybe nothing else. Manziel’s knocks are his size/height and penchant to scramble rather than hang in the pocket.
Here’s what we don’t know: What QBs did Cleveland interview? How many of Manziel’s games did Farmer attend last season? How much do Farmer/Pettine like QB Brian Hoyer? How much have the Browns spoken to Kevin Sumlin, the Texas A&M staff or Manziel’s QB coach George Whitfield? These are questions that nobody knows the answer to, but everyone will have an opinion on.
I actually endorse the move of not interviewing Manziel at the Combine, especially if the Browns already like him. He’s been the most scrutinized/written about/interviewed college athlete since Tim Tebow. What is there to gain in 15 minutes that you don’t know about him already? He’s coached up and laser focused on acing the interviews – it’s not like he had to worry about throwing or anything – so you wouldn’t get the real Manziel anyway. Not talking to him adds a layer of mystery.
What level of interest do the Browns have? Unknown. What will they do at 4? Not sure. What about 26? They’ve got seven picks in the first four rounds, and a decent roster and plenty of holes. Everyone rushed to get a mock draft out after the Combine; it feels like a waste of time because plenty will change during free agency.
We’re still nine weeks away from the draft, but how does this sound: Clowney/Mack/Watkins at 4, followed by someone like Chris Borland/Ha Ha Clinton Dix at 26 and then Mettenberger at 35?